College leaners’ horror SFX creations are a screaming success

20 special effects makeup artists from Coleg y Cymoedd have been busy bringing to life zombies and ghouls for this year’s X Scream scare event at the Rhondda Heritage Park.

Taking place at an old colliery site, the immersive and interactive event sees guests try to dodge zombies, movie monsters and a whole host of other terrifying characters, as they are chased through underground tunnels in a real-life abandoned Rhondda mine. 

A combination of HND Creative Production Arts Make up learners and Year 3 BA TV and Film: Hair, Make-Up and Special Effects undergraduates, were selected to work on the event as part of a collaboration between the college and the X-Scream organisers.

The learners were responsible for the monstrous transformations of live actors taking part in the event, using the latest techniques in special effects make up, and were also tasked with creating terrifying props to contribute to the overall ‘Fright Night’ experience.

Ffion Cox, 19, of college learners involved in the production said: “It was amazing to be involved in the XScream event and to play such a key role in creating the experience. Seeing the public’s amazed response, and hearing all of the positive comments about our work been a real confidence boost and reinforced my plans to pursue a career in the industry.

“I have loved creating zombies and gruesome characters over the last two years in college and so being able to put these skills into practice has been great fun and will help me achieve my career goal of going into the industry.”

The organisers behind the event, which saw attendees take on the role of unwilling cast members forced to audition for a horror movie directed by a fictional mad film director, chose to enlist the help of the college’s learners following their successful collaboration for X-Scream’s initial launch event last year.

The college was first approached to assist with the production after organisers were impressed by the quality of learners’ work for other events in Rhondda Cynon Taff including previous Halloween events and a zombie run.

Based at the college’s Nantgarw campus, the specialist courses at Coleg y Cymoedd, introduce learners to the professional media make-up and prop-making skills required within the areas of film and theatre.

Throughout both courses, learners take part in a variety of work placements with a range of production companies to gain real life industry practice and boost their employability.  

Course tutor, Jane Beard said: “Working on the X Scream event was a fantastic opportunity for our learners to develop their talents and gain an insight into the professional opportunities available to them in the sector.

“While the course provides learners with the skills and knowledge of special effects, it is experience on projects like these, where learners can put their skills into practice, that will grow their confidence and equip them with the expertise needed to secure placements and enter a career within the industry.”

Now in its second year, commenting on the involvement of the college learners, Helen Gibbons, Event Manager of X Scream, added: “X Scream is a unique, theatrical scare event in South Wales and it grows annually.  In 2017 we delivered a plan which contained a complicated mix of characters and the Coleg y Cymoedd students played a vital role in helping us to achieve the variety, authenticity and character visuals for our actors.  We are privileged to have an on-going relationship with Coleg y Cymoedd and hope that we can continue to create fantastic horror experiences with them”



Wellington Street
Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF44 8EN


Heol y Coleg
Parc Nantgarw
CF15 7QY


Rhondda Cynon Taff
CF40 2TQ

Ystrad Mynach

Twyn Road
Ystrad Mynach
CF82 7XR

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